Sunday, 16 October 2016

October meeting on letting go of worry, with a rousing chorus from Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends #unitarians

We had a lovely meeting on Sunday 9 October, with the theme “Don’t worry!  Be happy!”  Using our Unitarian freedom, the order of our service was changed, with our usual sharing ritual near the end instead of the beginning, as a means of cementing what had gone before.

As usual, at the start, we had a space in which participants were invited to silently centre themselves and go through in their own minds why they had chosen to be there.  For myself, I usually use that space to recite my personal creed or to remind myself of the insights or intuitions I had most recently received through my personal lectio divina activity.

We then had an opening prayer (or reading) from Kalidasa, an ancient Hindu writer, reminding us to look to this day so that all our yesterdays become a dream of happiness and all our tomorrows comprise a vision of hope.

After a hymn including the words of Sydney Henry Knight: “We do not seek a shallow faith, A God to set us free from trial and error, harm and death....But strength that we may cope...[and] trust the Life invincible within”, we lit our candles of concerns and joys.  This was a cherished time, during which we spoke in the safe space we had managed to establish.

We then had our scripture readings.  We heard words attributed to Jesus from the lost gospel known as “Q”, in which he challenged his followers to stop worrying, as worrying cannot add a single moment to their lives.

We next heard the Buddha’s teaching on causation and circumstances.

We sang another hymn reminding us not to grieve though life be full of sadness, and then we heard the president’s reasons for choosing the two readings from Jesus and the Buddha.

“Jesus deals in emotive pictures, touching the heartstrings.  The Buddha provides a cool, detached, theoretical and intellectual explanation.  Putting these two readings in different language, the first reading says that God has already dealt with what we dread, with the actions we have taken in our lives and the dreaded consequences (though Jesus doesn’t say how).  The second reading says that what has happened, and what will happen, are all included in the natural order of things.  Sometimes the emotional answer is what we need to hear, and sometimes the logical theory gives us more.”

To get down to the nitty-gritty, we then heard a few examples of hints and tips about “not worrying, and being happy.”  One particularly striking one had been derived from Aldous Huxley: we all crave separateness and then as soon as we have grown into separateness we crave peace.  But we can’t have both peace and separateness, so if we want peace more than we want separateness we have to learn to undo our separateness again.

After our seven minute period of silent meditation we heard the prayer poem by George Herbert, “Come my way” and we finished off with a rousing song from Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends “Come all you no hopers, you jokers and rogues.” Hear and watch it here:

Come, all you no hopers,
you jokers and rogues
we're on the road to nowhere,
let's find out where it goes
It might be a ladder to the stars, who knows
Come, all you no hopers,
you jokers and rogues.

Leave all your furrows in the fields where they lie
Your factories and offices;
kiss them all goodbye
Have a little faith in the dream maker in the sky
There's glory in believing him
and it's all in the beholder's eye.

Turn off your engines and slow down your wheels
Suddenly your master plan loses its appeal
Everybody knows that this reality's not real
So raise a glass to all things past and celebrate how good it feels.

Awash on the sea of our own vanity
We should rejoice in our individuality
Though it's gale force, let's steer a course for sanity